Nations Come Together at the Assembly of First Nations


NATIONS Come Together at the assembly of first nations

December 8, 2015

Chief Cliff Calliou and a delegation from Kelly Lake Cree Nation (KLCN) travelled to Quebec this week to address the Chiefs-in-Assembly. The group also met with representatives from the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK), following several weeks of talks leading up to KLCN's announcement that it would seek the support of the AFN through a special resolution.  

"The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake has given full support of our land grievance against Canada," says Rights and Title Manager Linette Calliou Hodges.

Kahnawake is located 10 kilometers south of Montreal, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The word “Kahnawá:ke” means, literally, “on the rapids,” which perfectly describes the Territory’s eastern reaches.

Kahnawake is one of several communities that comprise the Mohawk Nation. In turn, the Mohawks (or Kanienkehaka – the People of the Flint) are part of the larger Iroquois Confederacy. The current population is approximately 8,000 people.

The two Nations celebrate ancestral ties that reach back further than living memory. The common ancestors are peoples who left Caughnawaga ("Kahnawake") to build their legacy in the Peace River valley.


Photo L to R: MCK Chief Karrio, MCK Chief Kanietahawi Gina Deer, Chief Kwarakwante Cliff Calliou (Centre), Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton and KLCN Headwoman Margaret Gladu.

MCK Grand Chief Joseph Norton says it is an honour to stand beside First Nations who, like Mohawks, never gave up their sovereignty.

"Part of our mandate is to support our people, and we are proud of our common ancestry," he said.

"We lend our full support to our people's land grievances against Canada."

The original leader of the Kelly Lake Cree people, Louis Kwarakwante “Karhiio” Calliou (1782-1854), helped guide The North West Company, and later the Hudson's Bay Company, through the Rocky Mountains. He was born on Oct 17, 1782 in the Iroquois Village of Caughnawaga near Montreal, son of Marie Anne Tekonwakwenni and Thomas Anatoha Kanakonme.

"We are amazed that after over almost three hundred years, and more than 110 Mohawk trekked through the Rocky Mountains, you never gave up," says MCK Chief Gina Kanietahawi Deer.

"True Mohawk people, don't let anything stand in your way," she said.

Chief Kwarakwante Cliff Calliou said in his closing remarks to the MCK, KLCN will never give up. We will continue to walk with our heads held high, he said, despite the discrimination we have faced from Canada, BC, Alberta and even our neighbouring tribes.

"At the end of the day, we will continue to govern ourselves like we always have, in our own way with our own laws that allows us to continue as a proud Nation," said Chief Calliou.